Hungry

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He sat at a table in the food court of the shopping mall, trying to blend in. Around him, people were talking and eating a range of fast foods and he could smell the hot grease, salt and mixed aromas of meals.

He looked down at his hands and waited. He couldn’t bear to watch people eating or breathe in the smells anymore. His stomach was growling loudly and twinging with pains.

Two young Muslin women at the table next to him got up and left, chattering in a different language.

He eyed their left tray, piled with rubbish. Slowly, he got up, picked up the tray and sat back down with it at his own table.

He had been seen, of course, too many eyes around but he didn’t care.

He opened the first box and saw the remains of chicken thighs inside. He took out a piece and eat what he could, nibbling the bone.

There were no fries, just a pot of gravy. He’d never been a fan and the pot felt cold when he picked it up. Placing it back, he got up and left.

He felt eyes on him once more and questions on lips, but no one stopped him.

I don’t care, he thought.

He walked around the food court. Looking at the rubbish left on the tables. Sometimes he reached out and touched something to see if there was anything left inside. He moved on to more tables, aiming for ones recently left where the food might still be warm. He ate whatever scraps were left trying to hide his actions out of habit but it was still impossible in such a busy place.

He found a quarter of a taco in a discarded wrapper and swallowed it. The cup beside had water from melted ice cubes at the bottom which he gulped down.

He found another table with children’s box meals stacked up. He sat down and looked through each box. He found an unopened bag of fruit and slipped it into his pocket for later. Desperate his starvation now, he knew the important of saving something for another day.

At the bottom of another box was a few cold fries. He ate them then found a small bottle of orange juice with some left inside which he drink.

He felt into other box and pulled out a plastic wrapped toy. He sighed but unwrapped the toy car anyway. He ran the car across the table, remembering another time.

He become aware of two people flanking him. He looked up and saw security guards of the mall staring down at him.

‘You need to leave,’ one of them said.

He thought about arguing; I’m was just sitting here, what’s the harm in that?

There was no point.

He got up and security walked him to the exit only stairs. He knew people were watching and whispering, what had he done?  

I just wanted some food.

He went down the steps and out on to the snowy, icy streets. Snowflakes melted on his warm skin and busy shoppers hurried by eager to get back to their homes.

He hunched his shoulders against the wind and walked back to his things tucked into the doorway of a closed down shop. There he huddled against the cold, abandoned by the world.

(Partly based on a real story).

Hunger

candy, chocolate, delicious

Brian was so hungry, he could eat anything. Clutching the steering wheel, he drove down the dark motorway whilst licking his lips. At the moment, he was stuck out here with just the shadows of the trees and the glow of a farm house light in the distance. Soon though, he knew there’d be a rest stop and he could get something to eat.

He tapped the steering wheel and tried to listen to the soft music coming from the radio to distracted himself. His mind popped with images of beef burgers, fries, huge slabs of cooked meats and piles of crisp vegetables. Brian’s stomach groaned and he felt that if he didn’t eat soon he’d go mad.

His headlights flashed over a sign and he breathed a sigh of relief. There was a service stop a few miles away.

‘Soon, soon, soon,’ he told himself.

He sped up, taking the car over the speed limit, but out here in the middle of nowhere, close to midnight no one would see. He clutched the wheel tighter, so his knuckles turned white and even though his eyes were fixed on the road, he was no longer seeing clearly. He had to eat. He could feel the urge consuming him and riding over everything else.

The turn off came up and he yanked the car over violently. The wheels squealed then settled as he slowed down. Brian went through the parking lot and pulled up close by the door. He got out, locked the car and hurried inside. Warm lights and the pleasant smell of food filled the air.

He went to the first food place and got a burger, fries and a coke. Sitting down, he tried to contain the drool that was filling his mouth, but as he unwrapped the burger and bite into it, he felt wetness on his face. Brian moaned with pleasure into the bread and meat. He swallowed then finished the thing in two bites.

Not even bothering to wipe his mouth or fingers, he wolfed down the fries. They were gone in a few moments and he was left with the taste of salt and potato on his tongue. He picked up his drink, took off the lid and gulped that down like a man starved of water in a desert.

Brian sat back and wiped his hands and face. He felt better and the urge was slowly fading. He shut his eyes and for a few moments just sat there, patting his stomach. Then the hungry rose again, demanding more meat.

He got up, abandoning his tray and walked quickly to another fast food place. There he ordered a chicken burger, more fries, sides and a large coke. Sitting down again, he began eating. The urge was so great, it was the only thing he could think of. The burger tasted good, even better then the first and the fries were crispy, just how he liked them. He finished eating and drowned his mouth in the fizzy drink.

He burped loudly and threw his head back. The hungry began to fade again. He rested, but it only lasted for a few minutes. Getting up, he stumbled into the small shop and picked up random packets of sweets and snacks. He went to the till and dumped it all on. He swayed drunkenly and waved off the shop assistant’s questions. He paid with his card, grabbed as much as he could carry and went back to his table.

There he stuffed himself full of sweets, chocolate and savory snacks. It all felt so good and couldn’t get enough of it. He had to have more!

He looked up, deciding were to go next and saw that people were staring at him. All the employees of the service building and a handful of other late night travelers were watching him closely. He noticed some of them whispering to each other then turning away as they saw him watching them.

For a few moments, Brian came back to himself, what’s happening here? What am I doing? Then the hungry crashed in again. He hurried up and into the shop once more. This time not even caring what he eat, he tore items off the shelves and began opening things.

‘Wait! You can’t do that! Stop! You need to pay!’

Voices were shouting all around him, but he ignored them and carried on. His mouth was full of so much and he wanted to cramp everything in at once.

‘He’s gone mad! Someone phone the police!’

Hands grabbed him and Brian swung to hit them away. A fist crunched into his nose and he tasted blood. He spit out the mouthful of mixed food he had and reached for the hand that had hit him. Wrapping his hands around that strong arm, he brought the skin to his mouth and bit down.

Screams filled his ears, blocking everything else out, but all Brian could sense was the taste of flesh and blood in his mouth. It felt so good and finally he was satisfied.